The pleasant fragrance of lavender and bergamot in Jade Dragon Medical Spa is a welcomed departure from the familiar smells of most doctor’s waiting rooms.
The wall of herbs behind the reception desk contributing to the aroma are one of five branches of traditional Chinese medicine. The other four are nutrition education, Tui Na, Qui Gong, and most commonly, acupuncture, all of which are provided at the Sunny Brae spa.
Jade Dragon Medical Spa owner and licensed acupuncturist, Jessica Baker, has accumulated over 3,200 hours of undergraduate and graduate work in the field of Chinese medicine, at Five Branches University in Santa Cruz.
Baker has a personal stake in providing wellness through traditional techniques. She grew up ailed by medical problems that led to the lifelong use of antibiotics. The drugs seemed to be of little help and were overshadowed by negative side effects. Baker said she sought unconventional medicine and experienced amazing results with a simple change in diet and the use of herbs.
”Sometimes it’s harder to make those smaller changes like diet, than it is to make the drastic one,” Baker said.
Inspired by her renewed health, Baker wanted to share the techniques with others. That was more than a decade ago, and Baker opened the Jade Dragon in November. She said it is the only one of its kind in the area, in that walk-ins are welcome, and spa services are available in addition to the medical treatments.
Spa services include a foundation foot soak, hot stone placement, massages in a variety of techniques, as well as services for children from newborn to six years of age.
”We like to treat people before they get sick by focusing on wellness, not illness,” Baker said.
There are over 40 common health problems that are recognized by the World Health Organization, which can be eased with the use of acupuncture. Those include disorders concerning the ears, nose and throat, respiratory system, circulatory system and more. Traditional Asian acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of qi through distinct channels within the body, similar to nerves and blood vessels.
I was given a treatment of two needles placed in my forehead and skull, in an area commonly used to treat congestion and reduce stress and anxiety. I laid on an amethyst bio-mat, which uses negative ions for relaxation. I barely felt the needles being placed, but experienced a heavy sensation reaching to my toes once they were in.
Baker said the experience is different for everyone and people have reported feeling energy running throughout their body, with a result similar to an internal massage providing energy and rejuvenation.
Baker’s sister, Lia Harrell helps with the spa’s operations as its business and marketing director. The sisters grew up with a father in the military, living on bases and moving every two years.
As a tribute to their father, Baker plans to work with another licensed acupuncturist to open a veterans clinic for soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Baker is a member of Acupuncturists Without Borders, who have used the techniques to treat victims of Hurricane Katrina, wildfires, and other tragedies leading to the disorder. The veterans clinic would be open one day a month and operate on a donation basis.
Other plans in the works for the medical spa include the addition of an esthetician, and Harrell is studying to provide Reiki sessions